At the end of the 10 O’Clock News on CW-23 last Thursday, anchor Lisa Flynn (above with her seven-year-old son Thomas and husband Tom) announced something that stilltalkintv revealed weeks ago.
One of the inspirations for this blog is leaving WIVB-TV Channel 4 and its sister station, WNLO-TV.
“I got one email,” said Flynn in an interview Sunday night. “It is a good lesson. People do not hang in for the lottery numbers and the goodbye. Even Tom missed it.”
Flynn’s reason for leaving is simple: “To spend time with my son before his childhood slips away. It is completely my decision.”
“I can’t have at all at once,” added Flynn. “I could have it all but I couldn’t be good at everything and Thomas suffered as a result of the time commitment my career required.”
Flynn’s last newscast will be Wednesday night. She is preparing a two-minute goodbye piece dealing with the stories she has covered in her 20 years on local TV news – 14 years at Channel 4 and six years before that at Channel 7.
“When I tell people I worked at Channel 7, most people have no recollection,” said Flynn.
Starting Thursday, Flynn will be replaced at least temporarily at 5:30 p.m. weekdays on Channel 4 and at 10 p.m. on WNLO by a former Rochester TV anchor, Lia Lando. Lando was impressive when she anchored the weekend morning shows while Michele McClintick was on maternity leave. She is a Syracuse University graduate and has run her own public relations and marketing firm.
Lando is now believed to be the favorite for the job if she wants it. That has to be a blow to morning anchor Melissa Holmes, who sources said lobbied for the job. However, Lando has two young kids and commutes from Rochester and it isn’t clear if she would want a full-time job.
In a memo to the staff last Friday, Channel 4 News Director Joe Schlaerth said the station is conducting a national and internal search for Flynn’s replacement.
Flynn, 46, said she considered working part-time as a reporter but ultimately decided against even doing that.
“This business is still all-consuming,” said Flynn. “And even working two days a week I would still on my days off figuring out stories and trying to set up stories. And I need to focus on Thomas now. I would be miserable also going back to the street as a reporter.”
Of course, many people feel the message of the women’s movement has matured over the years to mean women shouldn't feel obligated to "have it all" by working and raising a family. It should be their choice if money isn't an issue and Flynn has made hers after years of thinking about it.
Flynn said that since Thomas went to kindergarten she has been confiding to Channel 4 anchor Jacquie Walker about the difficulties of balancing work and family. She said Walker told her she was able to do it because her husband stepped up and could work at home.
“My family dynamic is completely different,” said Flynn.
Her husband, attorney Thomas H. Burton, is a quadriplegic who has helped out as much as he can.
“It makes it much harder for him to pick up the slack,” said Flynn. “Tom really carried the bulk of this the last few years. I dumped bedtime on him. He wouldn’t get home until 7 p.m. because of work, then he had to get himself fed, Thomas showered and in bed and Tom does physical therapy four or five nights a week. And he never complained about it.”
She said that the reaction from her co-workers about her departure was a combination of “shock and sadness.”
“Several people have asked me to reconsider,” said Flynn. “Not one said you are making a mistake. They all have been supportive and understanding.”
She said her father, Wally Flynn, initially wanted her to keep working.
“My father is beside himself upset,” said Flynn, “because he won’t see his daughter on TV anymore.”
“Tom had a heart-to-heart with him and said ‘she’s doing this for your grandson.' So he did come around.”